6/30/11
Your Call: When Should I Tell Men About My Lesbian Past?

photo by Sexy Fitsum

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

When is it okay or advisable to share my lesbian past with a man I’m dating? I had a long-term, serious girlfriend when I was in school (a decade ago), and when men learn that I went to a women’s college, they all inevitably ask me if I ever “questioned my sexuality.” Some find the truth titillating or act like I’m their personal porn star (not always the greatest thing!) and some have found it intimidating or downright repellent — I’ve been dumped over this, if you can believe it.

I’ve always felt that honesty is the best policy, so I don’t want to lie, but I’ve also been told that a woman gets to have her secrets and that I don’t have to necessarily share all of my sexual or romantic history. I’m not actively bisexual, and I don’t want to be with women now or in the future — do my dates (or even my future partner) really need to know about my old flame? And if so, how do I know when it’s the right time to share this?

— L.U.G.

What should L.U.G. do?

11 Comments

  1. If a man is worth keeping they will accept your past no matter what, not being able to look past something like that is a massive sign of immaturity. If anything this is a perfect opportunity to wean out the good from the bad! I too had a similar situation like yours, my old boyfriend couldn’t handle it and used it as ammo everytime we had argument. Whereas my new boyfriend simply shrugged it off and has never mentioned it again!

  2. It could very well be that revealing this tid-bit of information early on could be a good way to weed out the non-starters, if not to at least reveal the character of your prospects.

  3. I’d make sure the guy is seriously interested, first off. The talk of ex boyfriends usually comes up in the coversation anyway so I’d mention it, but make light of it.

  4. “…when men learn that I went to a women’s college, they all inevitably ask me if I ever ‘questioned my sexuality.'”

    Seriously? Hello? I’d be honest but also misdirecting and say you were pretty sure the odds wouldn’t have been any different at a coed school.

    I imagine you could also answer honestly and say no, you never “questioned” your sexuality at all.

    You could even answer honestly that based on your experience women’s colleges aren’t all they’re made out to be on Girls Gone Wild, and that you were never interested in the whole “girl on girl” showboating business.

    Or you could just say “yeah, one of my exes is a woman but that whole “lesbian until graduation” thing might be a cliche but it turned out to be true for you.

    Good luck!

    figleaf

  5. I’m with the post about it being no different than any other ex. I dated one woman who brought it up after about a year, but only because it was in the context of a story in which she had to mention the gender of the person she was with. No need for drama in my opinion. If it’s not relevant to anything else, why worry.

  6. Beyond the need to address sexual health or children, your sexual past is your sexual past. Names, numbers, and genders do not have to be discussed unless you want to discuss them.

  7. I don’t see why you’d repeat it at all except to titillate. Why else do they need to know? It’s hardly relevant to the relationship you’re in.

  8. I don’t think they need to know.

    There’s nothing that’s any of their business.

    If you had an STD, a criminal record, multimillions of debt, yes, that might affect your futures together, something to tell them. But who you dated, not their biz.

  9. My vote:
    Bring her up like you would any other ex. Eventually, sure, if it’s relevant, don’t lie about her, but generally speaking it’s not first date material.

    If they do ask, consider it a litmus test. Did you really want to waste a second date on a guy who feels okay treating you like his personal porn star (before you’ve okayed/suggested it 😉 ) or is homophobic enough to dump you over dating a girl. Good riddance!

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